Swinburne University of Technology Online
Swinburne University of Technology Online
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Bachelor of Design With a Major in Communication Design

Bachelor Degree

Course description



3 yrs

Study mode



Next start date



  • This cutting-edge design degree has been developed in consultation with the design industry and focuses on the future of visual communication
  • It prepares you to work in graphic design, advertising, corporate branding, product packaging, publishing and web design
  • You will learn how to apply design principles and new technology, and graduate with a professional portfolio that demonstrates your diverse production skills

Campus options

1 campus available

CampusStudy modeDurationNext start date

Online (full time)

Online (part time)

3 yrs

6 yrs


Course details

Entry requirements

Year 12, or relevant academic or work experience, AND a portfolio that demonstrates your ability to solve visual communication problems.

Next start date
3 yrs
Study mode
Education institution
Swinburne University of Technology Online (RTO 3059)
The course price can vary depending on a few factors. To find out more, contact the course provider.
Payment options
Study now pay later – HECS-HELP

Course content

  • DCO10005 - Typography
  • DCO10001 - Concepts and Narratives
  • DCO10002 - Digital Design
  • DCO10003 - Design Studio: Packaging
  • DCO10004 - Design Studio: Photography
  • DCO10007 - Visual Communication
  • DCO20004 - Web Design
  • DCO20001 - Brand and Identity Design
  • DCO20009 - Typography for Print and Interactive Publication
  • DCO30001 - Capstone Project
  • DCO30002 - Design for Production
  • DCO30017 - Communication Design Strategy
  • DDD10001 - 20th Century Design
  • DDD20004 - Contemporary Design Issues
  • DDD20015 - Interaction Design for Web
  • DDD20016 - Experience Design and Usability for the Web
  • DDD30013 - Publication Design
  • DDD30019 - Web Marketing and Advanced Usability
  • DDD30020 - Interaction Design for Mobile Devices

Entry requirements

Non-Year 12 entry

Completion or partial completion of an approved tertiary qualification (including diplomas, advanced diplomas, associate degrees and degrees). Additional performance criteria and prerequisite requirements may also apply.

Submission of a professional portfolio that sufficiently demonstrates an understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of visual communication design is required. Please note the technology requirements for this course.

Students admitted to the course with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this course may be eligible for academic credit.

Applicants without a formal qualification but with significant and relevant work experience and appropriate English language skills will be considered if they can demonstrate that they can undertake the course with a reasonable prospect of success.

The University may determine selection criteria and restrictions in respect of courses to apply in addition to these entry requirements.

Year 12 entry

Successful completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or its equivalent, such as an interstate or international Year 12 qualification.

VCE Pre-requisites

  • Applicants must meet the associated minimum ATAR score
  • Units 3 and 4 – a study score of at least 30 in English (EAL) or at least 25 in English other than EAL and a study score of at least 20 in either Art, Interactive Digital Media, Media, Product Design and Technology, Studio Arts or Visial Communication.
  • A portfolio of work and a certified statement of results will be required.

Portfolio requirements

Your portfolio needs to:

  • Include 3 to 5 pieces of original work
  • Include a short description of the design objective of each work
  • Demonstrate your capacity to solve a visual communication problem using graphic design applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to implement the solution across media.

Work may include:

  • Design or Multimedia project work that demonstrates originality and problem-solving capabilities
  • Visual and written documentation of the design development stages of a project
  • Finished examples (photographs, illustrations or renderings) of a 2D or 3D design projects
  • Group-based work you have been involved with (including a description of the extent of your involvement and contribution to the finished result)
  • Project work that demonstrates a visual narrative or sequence
  • Drawing – with an emphasis on observational drawing skills and personal expression
  • Photography – with an emphasis on visual conceptual skills as well as technique
  • Design related work from another discipline

Additional evidence of design experience may be used to strengthen your submission:

  • A resume demonstrating professional design experience
  • A personal statement explaining your study intentions and career goals
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts from previous university, college or TAFE design related courses

Technology requirements for Bachelor of Design

Students are required to have:

  • A desktop / laptop computer
  • Broadband internet connection with 50GB+ data plan
  • A digital camera
  • Adobe Creative Cloud subscription

Adobe Creative Cloud System Requirements


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8
  • 1GB of RAM (3GB recommended) for 32 bit; 2GB of RAM (8GB recommended) for 64 bit
  • 20GB of available hard-disk space>
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended)

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8, v10.7, or v10.8
  • 2GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 20GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended)

Swinburne Online courses are only available to Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

Further information

The full Course Information Set and Whole of Institution Set are available for reference.

What you’ll learn

Become trained in:

  • Industry standard production processes, including mass production and one-to-many
  • Applying decision making frameworks and research to design problems
  • Techniques associated with the design and implementation of web sites and pages
  • Coding and other software based techniques for generating and managing simple web sites
  • Principles, strategies and the design of advertising
  • How brand identities are developed for a specific market, and how the different elements of identity work to 'speak' to a target market
  • Principles of packaging design and the skills of research and project implementation
  • Historical development of 20th century design as a creative, cultural and professional
    practice, exploring key designers, innovations and movements
  • How to write informational and persuasive text to support visual designs.

Career insights

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Support and delivery

Set your own timetable

Designed for maximum flexibility, this design course allows you to study anytime, anywhere.

There are 3 teaching periods a year, and you can enrol in 1 to 4 units every period.

On average, for a single unit, you should allow for approximately 8 hours of active learning each week. Active learning includes engaging with learning materials and activities, interaction with other students, readings and assessment tasks.

Possible study loads

  • Full-time: 8 units per year over 3 years
  • Suggested: 6 units per year over 4 years
  • Part-time: 4 units per year over 6 years

There are study breaks between teaching periods and over Christmas / New Year so you can take time out during your course.

Study Now, Pay as You Earn

Commonwealth supported places are available for the Bachelor of Design (Communication Design). If you're eligible:

  • the Australian government contributes to the cost of your course
  • you pay the remainder of your fees (known as a student contribution), and
  • you may be eligible for HECS-HELP assistance to pay your student contribution

HECS-HELP is a government loan available to eligible students enrolled in Commonwealth supported places, and covers all or part of your student contribution.

If you're eligible for a HECS-HELP loan, you don't need to pay for your course upfront. Instead, the Australian government will pay the loan amount to Swinburne Online on your behalf.

You may also be eligible for Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy.

Supportive, Interactive Learning

With many distance education courses, content originally designed for traditional face-to-face learning is adapted for online use, which may not always be practical.

With Swinburne Online, your course has been developed specifically for online delivery, so you get the most out of your online studies. The entire learning experience is designed to be supportive, engaging and collaborative. Your course content is supplemented by online communication technologies such as discussion boards, chat sessions, email and blogs.

  • Access your course through an online learning platform
  • Excellent tutor-student ratio
  • Regular feedback and guidance from eLearning Advisors

In addition, Student Advisors are available by email and phone 7 days a week to respond to any queries you may have around your study.

These Student Advisors will provide information on admissions, enrolment and re-enrolment, course advice, policies and regulations and academic assessments, and assist you with any technical issues you may experience.

Familiarise Yourself with Online Study

The Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) includes a foundation unit called "Learning and Communicating Innovative Practice". This unit is especially useful if you're returning to study after a long time, or are unfamiliar with online learning.

It will help you gain skills in:

  • written and online communication
  • collaborating in individual and group work
  • critiquing and analysing information sources

Upon completion of this unit, you'll be more confident about online study.

Payment options

Study now pay later – HECS-HELP

Find out more about this course

Swinburne University of Technology Online

Bachelor of Design With a Major in Communication Design

Submit an enquiry direct to Swinburne University of Technology Online.